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ALEXANDER  VON  HXJMBOLDT.                107
tific friends and assistants, especially Arago3 Gay-
Luesac, Julian, Ouvier3 Valenciennes; and the constant
addition of new and strange elements, made Paris
especially agreeable for his studies.
William had commenced the alteration of his man-
sion of Tegel in 18225 and on the spot where he and
Alexander had spent their childhood., a splendid build-
ing now stood, whose interior was ornamented with
productions of all branches of art.    But another diplo-
matic appointment had nearly taken him again from
TegeL     In 1822, the Lord  Chancellor Hardenberg
died in Genoa, and the minister Yon Yoss, who en-
joyed the king's confidence, was fixed on as his suc-
cessor, but also died, on 23rd January, 1823, which
caused some embarrassment in the choice of a prime
minister.     The   Cotint Kleist von Nollendorf,  who
would have been called to the post, also died, strangely
enough, on the 17th February, and the king's choice
would now, though not without hesitation, have fallen
on William von Humboldt, had not other diplomatic
considerations prevented Humboldt's return to office.
The General von Witzleben had represented to the
king that he was the only man completely qualified
for such a high position.    But he remained in Tegel,
quietly devoting himself to arts and science, and thus
had more leisure and time to welcome his brother
Alexander on their paternal grounds.
When the king of Prussia proceeded to the congress-
of Verona, in 1822, Alexander von Huroboldt, coming
from Paris, met the king in Yerona, and accompanied
him from there on his journey through Italy to Venice,
Borne, and Naples—an excursion which is of peculiar
interest to science, because Alexander von Humboldt
ascended Mount Vesuvius three times between the
22nd November and the 1st December;  partly to
repeat  and   correct  his  former  barometric altitude
measurements,   partly to examine the edge of the
orator, and its condition after a previous violent erup-
tion.    He had ascended it once before, with Leopold
von Buch and Gay-Lussac, on the 12th August, 1805,